Vikes list $67M in 'hidden' costs for new venue
By PATRICK CONDON
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings said Tuesday that building a new football stadium on the current site of the Metrodome would include $67 million in hidden costs that should be factored as state leaders move toward picking a host a new NFL venue.
The Vikings prefer a suburban proposal in Ramsey County -- a $1.1 billion stadium on the site of a former Army ammunition plant in Arden Hills. Minneapolis officials, led by Mayor R.T. Rybak, have pitched the Metrodome option as the cheaper alternative, coming in at about $925 million.
In a letter to Rybak, Vikings owner Mark Wilf said that when it comes to the city's final proposal, "it is imperative that your analysis of Minneapolis stadium sites include all costs associated with each site." Building at the Metrodome would force the team out of that building for several seasons and into TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, which Wilf wrote would have consequences for the team's bottom line.
Specifically, Wilf wrote, the team estimates generating $37 million less in game revenue for those three seasons. In addition, playing on campus would require $11 million in facility upgrades to make the stadium NFL-ready as well as $19 million to upgrade parking options.
That would "bring the total costs to build at the Metrodome site to $962 million," Wilf wrote. He added that the team is also worried about potential disruptions on its players, fans, sponsors and partners, and also potential challenges for neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota.
John Stiles, a spokesman for Rybak, said city officials were aware of the team's concerns. "We're working to address them," Stiles said.
Gov. Mark Dayton has set a Thursday deadline for Minneapolis and Ramsey County to finalize stadium proposals. Dayton and lawmakers are hoping in the legislative session that begins Jan. 24 to finally resolve the team's longstanding bid for a stadium subsidy.
Two other Minneapolis sites are under consideration: one near the Twins' Target Field, and another not far away on Linden Avenue, close to the Basilica of St. Mary.
The Rev. John Bauer, rector of the Basilica, said church leaders are concerned about having a stadium it just 300 feet from their building. He said there would be traffic and parking problems on Sunday game days, and other complications for the congregation.
Bauer said current Sunday Masses attract 2,000 to 3,000 people to the Basilica, the majority of whom drive in from the suburbs.
"I can't imagine how our thousands of Sunday worshippers would be able to compete with the more than 60,000 people who attend a Vikings game," Bauer said. "There simply isn't that much room in this area and the traffic, congestion, tailgating and parking issues alone could be disastrous for our Sunday worship schedule."